22 May 2020 - Digital Strategy

Want to make a digital strategy that sells? Start here.

Digital marketing is not magic where you can achieve unbelievable results with a single push on a button.

It’s an implementation process of a strategy build for your brand to create the correct perception among your clients by using multiple channels to achieve a durable competitive advantage in your market.

In this blog we introduce principles you will use and strategic choices you will make when you use digital marketing to achieve your goals. Let’s dive right in.

We discuss the following topics in this article:

  1. Customer profiles

  2. Customer focus

  3. Attraction

  4. Multichannel approach

  5. Online Advertising

  6. Maximise Results

  7. Pampering and following up leads

  8. Influence word of mouth positively

  9. The P’s of Marketing

1. Create customer profiles

Customer profiles, customer personality, avatar, buyer persona,… There are a lot of different terms just to say: know what your ideal customer looks like. You have to do this before sending out messages and advertisements.

Let’s approach this with common sense.

You talk differently to a 40-year old accountant who has two children than you talk to a 16-year old student who lives at home. For that reason, a good marketeer starts from an analysis. He looks at existing customers and formulates answers to these questions:

  • How much does this customer make us?
  • Which type of character is a match with our company? (This is important for long lasting relationships.)
  • How much potential does this segment have to grow?
  • How labor intensive is this type of customer? And how scalable is this segment?
  • Do customer research to discover their needs and wishes.
  • Analyse your competitors, write down what works in your market.
  • Which keywords are used most often by your customers?
  • Which questions do your customers have?

Trying to be everything to everyone is being nothing to no-one.

Once a marketeer knows “this is my type of customer”, he looks for common attributes. When doing so, he takes into consideration:

  • Demographic data
  • How they use search engines and what they look for
  • Threats, opportunities, needs and wishes

When all of this is done, he determines the ideal customer profile and visualizes it.

klantenprofielen samenstellen

2. Put your customer first

Put your customer first when formulating a strategy instead of making your company the centre of everything. For years on end companies talked about themselves. LOOK AT ME ME ME! Think of posts such as: “We have a promotion!” “We are expanding.” “We are doing the next big thing!” …

There are moments to share such things, but focus mainly on how to offer your potential customers something of value. Your customer has questions, needs, wishes and doubts which he wants answered of resolved before trusting a company. Progressive companies put their customer first because it sells more. It’s simple as that.

The best example is Coolblue.

From business-oriented to customer-oriented: this is how you make the switch

Answer to needs, wishes and doubts customers have with content: e-mails, blogs, pictures, video’s, webinar, Instagram posts,… By answering those needs, wishes and doubts correctly, you influence your potential client positively.

Above that, you have to target the right customer profile with the right content, at the right moment using the right platform.

To make sure we target our ideal customer at the right moment, we look at the purchase process that those customers go through.

When making someone a customer through digital marketing, you follow this process:

 

proces tot aankoop - buyers journey

The fancy marketeers call this ‘the buyers journey’, which is a sequence of steps someone goes through when becoming a customer and eventually even a promotor of your company.

For example:

Attract – From stranger to visitor
John does not know the company XY. Through a blog article, an advertisement or a Google Review he comes into contact with company XY in a positive way.

Convert – From visitor to lead

John shows interest and downloads a brochure, he comes to an event or he subscribes to a newsletter.

Close: From lead to client

By convincing content, emails or a positive contact with the sales team he decides to become a customer.

Delight – From customer to promotor

Because of an excellent customer experience, John recommends XY to his friend Eric. At this point, the process starts over but this time for Eric.

3. Attraction: positive perception

People unknowingly associate beauty with quality (Halo-effect). A visual presentation is therefore key to link the right perception to a product or service.

What visual identity does your company have?

The gameplan:

Avoid low quality pictures and videos, long texts in advertisements,…

Corporate identity

Use a certain corporate identity. What I mean by that is that you should always use the same colours and fonts. Those will then be linked to your company. Customers will recognise you by your use of colours and fonts.

Incorporate those colours and fonts into your: logo, website, social media posts,… A corporate identity provides peace and recognizability.

Designs

contrast afbeeldingen

Different platforms aks for different sizing and design. Image formats for Instagram are different from those on Facebook or emails for example.

Why?

Each platform has different sizing, because users are used to a certain type of format, unique to each platform. You can just crop your images depending on what the platform wants.

High quality videos and pictures

High quality photos and videos generate more engagement because they look more appealing. I’ll give you an example.

Make sure you have a professional photographer present at your events, because those pictures will be seen by potential customers, possibly even liked and shared which makes that other people come into contact with your company through those pictures. That first introduction has to be great.

The same applies to videos of course. Shoot videos with a professional camera, good sound quality and fitting music (purchased on license basis or on a royaltee free website such as Audiohive or Epidemicsound).

4. Multichannel approach

Content is consumed on different channels. When distributing this content, the buyers journey has to be taken into account.

Create a brandstory (strategy) for the target audiences you want to reach. Extrapolate valuable information to the platforms where this target group can be influenced.

Using the analyzes of our customer profiles, we know which platforms to use to influence our target audience. We use the platforms that will get us the best possible results.

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Blog

multichannel aanpak

Start by writing blog articles to introduce valuable information. Furthermore, blogs are a good way to optimize SEO.

A blog can be used to make other content. Transform the blog into a video or use a quote from that blog on Instagram.

Communicate one story on different platforms in the most natural way.

Important to know is that people consume information differently. They consume information through audio, video and some by taking action.

Therefore it is important to ensure a good mixture of the things that are posted on the different platforms.

5. Online advertising

Advertising is easy: you push a button and *bam* your advertisement is live.
In reality, a lot of companies throw away a lot of money doing this. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an advertisement on Google, Facebook, Instagram or Youtube. It is not just one push on the button, it’s a process. Most SMEs lack knowledge to get started with online advertising. It takes a lot of hours of training to become a professional.

The beauty of advertising online is that the cost is low for the return that can be earned back on it. However, the creative and technical execution determines the success of your campaign.

Here is an overview of the different types of online advertisements:

  • Facebook Ads
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • AdWords
  • Retargetting Ads
  • Youtube Ads
  • Instagram Ads + Instagram Story Ads
  • Display ads on websites (independent from Google Ads, e.g.: advertisements on HLN)
  • Paid posts & shout outs on Instagram

Online advertising can be a great tool to distribute a message to an exact target audience. Promote your most successful posts to your ideal customer.

Another advantage of online advertising is that there are much more measurable indications to improve advertisements. It is unbelievable how detailed targeting can get using for example Facebooks database. The same goes for LinkedIn, but more specifically to reach professionals.

There is however a big difference between everything social media and Google Adwords.

People use social media to read stories of friends and family. People use Google when they are searching for something specific.

Whether it’s AdWords, Facebook Ads or retargeting ads: they all have specific applications and requirements. It is important to use the right analysis to achieve your goal the fastest. Retargeting for example, works because most people only visit your website once. With retargeting you ensure a second interaction between yourself and your customer.

For example: With Facebook Custom Audiences, your top 5% longest-visiting people of your company’s website can be bundled and used as a target audience.

When using advertisements, always consider the buyers journey.

Example:
Someone clicked on an ebook page but did not download it. You can then retarget the people who have visited this page on Facebook with an ad to download it. Those who have downloaded the ebook are excluded. (For this you need to install a Facebook Pixel on your website).

6. Maximise results

A digital plan has to be refreshed and analyzed from time to time to maximise results. We use programs such as: Dashthis, Opteo & Hotjar.

Whether it’s video, live video, email,… Everything has one end goal: results.

A nuance in this is important: how good is the creative execution? A perfect strategy can be implemented poorly creatively which makes that you miss out on the right results.

You have to analyse critically, all the time. Why this network? Why this email? Why, why, why?

Make it measurable:

  • How many posts are made?
  • How many likes did those generate?
  • Which post works best?
  • What did the retargeting campaign yield?
  • How many leads, clicks and budget did you invest in the campaign?
  • How many clicks are generated through AdWords?

All these questions must be answered crystal clear to make the right adjustments. In Google Analytics you can make dashboards to evaluate your ads. Facebook, for example, has the Insight Tools or the Ad Management from which you can get a lot of analyses. Paying tools such as Dashthis can also be used.

In the retail sector you can use Freedelity. This tool tracks the number of customers in your store, how much they spend, what the average value per purchase is,…

7. Pampering and following up leads

Once a request is received from a certain customer, it is the way in which that request is processed that determines whether they become a customer or not.

Therefore, think about a process that can be built in to process these requests efficiently and quickly. A good communication between the sales- and marketing team is of great importance. That way you can assign certain codes to a certain type of customer. Marketing then gives this code to sales so that sales knows how to best approach this type of customer.

Pampering your customers

To influence word of mouth positively, you want to make sure customers become promotors of your company. You achieve this by offering your customers valuable information and follow-up. They can find that information in your newsletter, on your website or social media. By offering your existing customers a great experience, they become promotors of your company.

8. Influence word of mouth positively

In digital marketing, you want to influence people to choose your company.

A brand is no longer what we tell them it is. It is what consumers tell each other it is.
-Scott Cook, Director Ebay & Proctor & Gamble

The combination ‘at the right time – providing the right information to the right target group’ plays a big role.

But how else can you influence word of mouth positively?

  1. React when people ask questions online. In this way you provide them with a realtime customer service.
  1. Social proof is important as well. Social proof is the concept that people copy or follow behaviour of others, assuming that this behaviour is the right behaviour. Collect and communicate written or filmed testimonials on your website, great reviews on Facebook & Google, mention articles in authoritarian magazines or journals,…

9. Don’t forget about the P’s

The principles marketing is all about are the following:

  • Price
  • Product
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • People

Digital marketing works even better when all those P’s reinforce each other.

Example:

Blokker closed 25 stores. Why? Not because of their pricing policy, product, promotion or people. It was about ‘place’, they wanted to sell more products on their webshop.

Power to the People.

The impact of honest employees is often forgotten. If skilled and committed employees have been recruited, it is important to continue to encourage them. Great employees are also a huge factor in positive word of mouth. It is therefore important to pamper your leads & customers as well as your staff. Your staff talks about your company the most and therefore ensures a positive or a negative snowball effect within their network.

Something we see often is that excellent companies with a great product or service are not present where they should be and don’t advertise on the channels their ideal customers use. Make marketing a priority.

Get to work

Get to work and make a strategy by following every step, start by making customer profiles. Once you have done that, think about how you can provide those customers with a customer-oriented communication.